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The Importance of Stretching

When it’s difficult to fit exercise into your day, taking time to focus on stretching/flexibility may seem impossible.

But, stretching is an integral part of fitness, just a few of the many benefits may be:

– improving range of motion

– relieving muscle tightness and stiffness

– improving postural imbalance and helping to reduce chronic pain

– increasing circulation

– calming your mind/mood


Stretching may help to avoid injuries and illness, and may also help you to have a better nights sleep.

Stretching should become a daily routine to gain the most benefit.

Each and every stretch should be carried out gently and slowly.  Gently deepen each stretch with every exhalation and stop if you feel any strain or pain.  Try to hold each stretch for 30 seconds, initial tightness may gradually diminish as you hold the stretch.

Repeat each stretch 3-5 times.

If you would like some advice about stretching or specific exercises that may be beneficial for you, speak to your osteopath about it during your next visit to the clinic.

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Combating Desk Disease

With working hours getting longer, people are spending more and more time seated at their computer.  We are seeing an increasing number of people complaining of headaches, as well as neck and back pain.  So, what can you do to limit these problems?


Drink more water.  Dehydration can be a cause of headaches.  Increasing your fluid intake can decrease your risk.  Working in an air-conditioned work place can make it easy for you to become dehydrated.


Schedule regular breaks.  As a minimum each hour take a five minute break to get up, move around and stretch.  You can set a reminder on your computer to move.  Standing to talk on the phone is another idea to get you out of your chair.


Check your desk set-up.  Below are a few simple guides to follow to ease the strain on your body.  If unsure most workplaces have an Occupational Healthy and Safety Officer to assist you.

  • The height of your chair should allow you to sit with your feet flat on the floor, or foot rest, with the angle at your hips and knee at about 90 degrees.  The height of the back rest should be adjusted to support the curve of your lower back.  There should be no arm rest as these stop you getting closer to your desk.
  • The top of the desk should be just below elbow height.
  • The top of the screen should be level with, or slightly lower than eye height when sitting upright.  Stands, or books can be used to raise the monitor.  It should be placed about an arms reach away and directly in-front.
  • Desk layout. Things used a lot should be placed close and within reach.  The keyboard should be placed close to the edge of the desk with the mouse next to it.  If the mouse is used a lot, try swapping sides occasionally to avoid overuse injuries.
  • Document Holder. Takes the strain off your upper back and neck by bringing the document you are referring to or, reading closer to your eye level decreasing the need to look down.
  • Head-set. Frees up your hands to take notes when on the phone, instead of tightening up muscles by holding it between your cheek and shoulder.


Get out and exercise.  Find a sport you love and stick to it.  The fitter and healthier you are the better you will cope with the daily grind.  Swimming is a great form of exercise to free up the joints and muscles.  To keep you motivated get a friend to join you.


Seek treatment.  Too many people go day to day with pain and discomfort.  So, don’t wait until it gets worse, call us at Croydon Osteopathy to book an appointment.

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When should I use an ICE pack?? Treating Acute Injuries.

Using an ice pack is the one of the best ways to manage the pain and swelling associated with an acute injury and start the healing process.

You might ask the question “When is my injury acute?”. An injury is considered to be acute when it occurs suddenly and often traumatically – like falling off a bike.  The symptoms of an acute injury include the sudden onset of pain, swelling, difficultly weight bearing and restricted ranges of movement.  Examples of acute injuries include sprains, strains and fractures.

How should you treat your acute injury?? Pain and swelling are an immediate indication to stop what you are doing. Never try and ‘work through’ the pain. If your acute injury is serious – broken bones, dislocated joints or concussion seek medical advice immediately. The same applies if your pain, swelling or numbness is uncontrollable. If you don’t have any of these conditions it may be safe to start treating your injury yourself.

The following acronym is a helpful way to remember what to do in the event of an acute injury:


R – Rest

Place yourself in a comfortable position & keep the injured area supported. Avoid using the area for 48-72 hours as continued activity will increase the damage to the injured area.


Apply ICE for 20 minutes every 2 hours for the first 48-72 hours. (When the injured area is a finger/toe or a child reduced this to 10 minutes). Ice helps to decrease bleeding and swelling by constricting blood vessels and as a result it reduces your pain.

Ice can be applied in the following ways:
– crushed or cubed ice can be placed in a plastic bag or damp towel/tea towel.
– frozen peas wrapped in a damp towel/tea towel.
– a gel ice pack or cold pack.

Do not apply ice directly to the skin, always use a damp towel to protect the skin.

C- Compress

Apply a firm, wide elastic bandage above, below and directly over the injured area. Maintain compression in between icing treatments. Compression decreases swelling and bleeding and provides support for the injured area. Some areas of the body may not be suitable for compression – like the spine. It is important to remember not to apply the bandage too tightly. Signs that your compression bandage is too tight include numbness, tingling or skin discolouration – i.e. toes turning blue. If this occurs loosen the bandage.

E – Elevate

If possible to do so comfortably raise the injured area above the level of your heart, you might try using a pillow. This helps to decrease swelling and pain.

R – Refer

As soon as possible seek medical advice. Seeing us here at Croydon Osteopathy is a good place to start. We can assist you to determine the extent of your injury and provide treatment and advice for the rehabilitation required.

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How to keep hydrated in the hot summer months

If December is anything to go by then this summer is shaping up to be a hot one! One of the most important things for our health is staying hydrated and in the summer months this is more important than ever. Water is essential to most bodily functions and as the body has no way to store water it needs a fresh supply everyday.

How will you know if you are becoming dehydrated? Well, some of the common symptoms of dehydration include a dry mouth, thirst, headaches and tiredness. By the time you start to feel thirsty your nerves & muscles are already compromised. If you are unsure if your headaches are hydration related make sure to ask your osteopath.

So how much water is enough?? It seems like a simple question but there is no simple answer. The fact is your water needs depend on many factors, including your health, how active you are and the climate where you live. Knowing your body’s needs will help you estimate how much water you need to drink. Keep in mind we replenish water through beverages and foods that contain water, as well as drinking water itself. Medically speaking, the average, healthy adult living in a temperate climate needs roughly 13 cups (3 litres) of total beverages for men and about 9 cups (2.2 litres) of total beverages for women. Don’t fret my friends, this includes the fluid we get from milk, juice, coffee and tea – but water is still your best option as it is calorie free and low cost. We also get approximately 20 percent of our fluid from food – for example foods such as watermelon and lettuce are up to 90 percent water.

Depending on your individual needs, you may need to modify your fluid intake. Exercise, or for that matter any active that makes you sweat, requires you to drink extra water to compensate for the fluid loss. How much additional water you need depends on how much you sweat during exercise, the type of exercise you are doing and how long you are doing it for.

Long hot summer days can make you sweat more and also require an increased fluid intake. The same goes for days when the humidity is high. We all know to slip, slop, slap and now need to add sip (on water) to that.

Dehydration can also be a problem when we are sick – particularly when you have a fever, vomiting or diarrhoea. Urinary tract or bladder infections and constipation are other times when you need to increase your fluid intake. (Always conduct a doctor if you’re feeling unwell).

Women that are pregnant or breastfeeding, elderly people and children all need to be aware of their hydration needs and should consult a health professional for advice if required.

Some easy ways to increase you water intake include:

  • Carrying a water bottle with you, particularly on warm days or when planning to exercise. Keep it handy – on your desk or in your bag and remember to sip on it throughout the day.
  • Add fruit to flavour your water – lime, lemon &/or orange slices work well as does mint or watermelon and strawberries.
  • Add flavoured ice cube – freeze pureed fruit (pineapple, mango or raspberries work well) and add to your water bottle for a burst of flavour.
  • Set alerts/alarms on your phone or computer to remind yourself to stop for a glass of water.



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5 Tips for a Good Nights Sleep

Have a regular sleep pattern:
Try to go to bed at the same time every evening & wake at the same time every morning. This will help your body to work out a healthy sleep routine.

Bed is for Sleeping:
Television, computers, smart phones & other distractions can interfere with your sleep. It is better not to sleep with your TV on. Your mind needs to be in the habit of knowing that if you are in bed, you are there to sleep. Don’t lie in bed wide awake.

Wind down and relax before going to bed:
Have a buffer zone before bedtime. Sort out any problems well before going to bed. Try and avoid using your computer within one hour of bedtime. Exercise is fine but not to late in the evening & try finding a relaxation technique that works for you.

Avoid alcohol, cigarettes and caffeine:
Alcohol may help you get off to sleep, but will disrupt your sleep during the night. Caffeine (tea, coffee & cola drinks) and the nicotine in cigarettes are stimulants that can keep you awake.

Make your bedroom comfortable:
You should have a quiet, dark room with comfortable bedding and good temperature control. A supportive comfortable pillow is important. The type of pillow you need is dependant on the position you sleep in and your body shape. Your osteopath is here to help when it comes to helping you find the right pillow for a good nights sleep, just ask when you are next in!!

If you have any other questions or would like to be fitted for a pillow, please do not hesitate to contact us here at the clinic, we are always happy to help!


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